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Hall County commissioners reject Tumbling Circle closing
Braselton rezoning request denied; tennis court repairs to be rebid
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners finally voted Thursday to reject a proposal to abandon right of way along Tumbling Circle after a railroad crossing there was closed last year.

Hall County officials have declined to close the crossing on two previous occasions.

But the Georgia Department of Transportation ordered the crossing closed in September after Norfolk Southern Railway petitioned the agency.

State transportation and railway officials have said it is in the interest of public safety to shutter the crossing permanently.

Tumbling Circle was formerly used as a westward cut-through from Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway to Old Oakwood Road, which then leads to Mundy Mill Road to the south and Mountain View Road to the north.

Heading in the opposite direction, Tumbling Circle acts as an access point to Exit 17 off Interstate 985.

County officials argue that the crossing was closed to pad Norfolk Southern’s bottom line, and that shutting off the thoroughfare will have consequences for motorists and public safety agencies.

In other business, the board also  approved an agri-entertainment license for Misty Robinson-Smith.

Agri-entertainment businesses in agricultural residential districts must meet a series of zoning stipulations, such as setback requirements, limits on the number of attendees and hours of operation.

These types of businesses also must be issued a business license and certificate of occupancy as well as being approved by the Board of Commissioners.

Robinson-Smith said she wants to use pasture land on her property along Pillsbury Road for weddings, birthdays and other gatherings. But horse riding  will be the main use.

The board tabled another planning request to rezone a property for commercial development on a property at the intersection of Old Winder Highway and Howington Road in Braselton.

The property was once owned by Mountain Stream Saddle Club and was initially rezoned in 2008.

Since that time, developer Inland LLC has made changes to the site plan, which include additional buildings to ostensibly support the opening of the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center nearby.

The board also voted to rebid a contract to build a new tennis court at the Village at Deaton Creek.

County officials will reject an initial bid because they want a full reclamation project that tears up the faulty court and permanently fixes continual cracking in the hard court. 

The county spent about $22,000 in 2009 to completely rebuild the tennis court, which had been damaged, residents claim, when the subdivision’s sewer line was being laid.

In September 2013, the county poured several thousand more dollars into repairing a crack in the court, only for it to re-emerge last February.

Finally, the board voted to change credit card processing vendors.

Officials had previously decided against it because the purported savings were minuscule and did not outweigh the hassle of having to implement new systems and credit card machines.

But Tax Commissioner Darla Eden said the new vendor would provide better capability to process online payments and transactions.